OR Conversations: Bruno Portigliatti talks business, homeless, faith, patriotic movies

Orlando Rising
June 6th, 2017
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OR Conversations is a weekly Q&A featuring conversations with local newsmakers.

Bruno Portigliatti is a small-business man running for the Republican nomination for the open seat in Orange County’s Florida House District 44 in the August 15 primary. A Brazilian-American son of immigrants, Portigliatti, 29, is executive vice president of Florida Christian University; chief executive officer of Excellence Senior Living; president of New Beginnings Global Outreach; and a realtor with AmeriTeam Realty, Inc. In the primary, he faces John Newstreet, Bobby Olszewski, and Usha Jain.

Orlando-Rising: The race for House District 44 has a field crowded with business people. What distinguishes you in regards to business policy?

Bruno Portigliatti: I have genuine hands-on experience running several businesses, I’m not a politician. I think that sets me apart from the others in the race, who have more of a political/networking background. Since I was a boy I have worked with my father at the university literally doing everything from making coffee for everyone and organizing the classrooms to serving as the executive vice president and soon as president. I know what it takes to run a large operation with lots of employees, to balance a budget, to make a payroll and meet deadlines. When we decided to start building senior living facilities, I was asked to run the operations because the stakeholders knew that I have a natural calling to keep things on track. I think these direct experiences are very important for our leaders in Tallahassee. Having a business leader that has personally dealt with all the regulations and red tape that comes from government is key if we ever hope to reduce it.

OR: Your charitable organization New Beginnings Global Outreach is working with homeless issues in Orlando. What is it doing, and what can the Florida Legislature do to better address homeless problems?

Portigliatti: We are a small, relatively new 501(c)(3) charity. Our mission is to be ambassadors of love and agents of change by providing resources to those in need and promoting new beginnings. I serve as president and chairperson. We have seven board members that include my father, Anthony Portigliatti, a dentist, a doctor, a Bible translations expert, a hospitality executive and a minister. While we accept donations, most of our contributions come from myself, my father and the board. We work in small ways helping a random individual that we encounter in our daily lives and in big ways doing what we can to improve people’s lives. This past April we participated in He Got Up, the largest gathering to help the homeless in the country. The purpose of the event was to help provide the homeless population with access to resources, legal services, employment opportunities, hot showers, food and beverages and health and wellness checkups. This project was inspired by Tim Johnson at the Orlando World Outreach Church and we were happy to participate in such as valuable program. In Tallahassee, I think the legislature can continue to do things like encourage public/private partnerships that allow the community to help take care of their own. We need more people to be encouraged to get active in their church and their community to help solve the problem and not simply wait for government to do it. By continuing to work on affordable housing programs, mental health programs, and reforming the Veterans Administration, it will help to solve these problems. We also need to ensure our shelters are clean and safe environments.

OR: Your family owns Florida Christian University in Orlando, which declares its commitment to Christian principles in life and business, and you’ve expressed that government should do nothing to affect the morality of our state for our children and grandchildren. How does your faith address social issues such as abortion, gay rights, and education?

Portigliatti: I am 100 percent pro-life. I believe that an unborn child, like all individuals, has a right to life that cannot be infringed upon and that the rights of equal protection of the law, guaranteed to all Americans in the Fourteenth Amendment, apply to unborn children as well. I believe that marriage is the spiritual covenant between one man and one woman. With that said, I believe that each person has the right to choose how they wish to live their lives and that, above all else, I am called to love my neighbor. Lastly, I believe that our constitutional rights of free exercise of religion and freedom of speech also apply to education, and that schools cannot discriminate against a student, parent or school personnel based on a religious viewpoint or religious expression.

OR: Do you expect significant self-funding of your campaign by yourself and your family?

Portigliatti: Yes. While I have held fundraisers and collected donations from others, I don’t see how I could ask others to invest in my campaign without doing so myself first. However, what really matters is talking to the voters, and that’s why I’ve been out walking door to door every day to get my conservative message out.

OR: You chair the city of Orlando Minority & Women Business Enterprise Certification Board. What are the challenges facing minority and women entrepreneurs and what can the Florida Legislature due to address them?

Portigliatti: Minority and women-owned businesses are not always at a level playing field with larger organizations. The City of Orlando certification provides incentives to qualified new and existing businesses so that they have similar opportunities as larger businesses that they would not have otherwise. This certification has helped thousands of businesses thrive, which in turn has led to the creation of jobs and contributed to our local economy. We need to have an inclusive state that is committed to assisting and providing incentives to minority and women-owned businesses so that we can retain existing businesses, create new ones, and be an attractive option for businesses that are looking to relocate to a different state. As the chairman of the Certification Board, I hear testimonies every month from people whose businesses have grown significantly and whose livelihood have been transformed due to this program.

OR: What sport or entertainment is your favorite pastime passion?

Portigliatti: Well, to tell you the truth, my passion/pastime is being with my family, being active at my church and in several community organizations, and running our businesses. That’s what motivates me every morning. However, I’ve always been athletic and I love watching movies. I mean how can I miss the opportunity to watch Braveheart, The Patriot, Hacksaw Ridge. … “Freedom” is what life is all about!

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Fourth Republican, Bruno Portigliatti, qualifies for HD 44 special election

Florida Politics
June 19, 2017
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Orlando businessman Bruno Portigliatti qualified for the ballot Monday for the upcoming special election in Florida’s House District 44, giving the Republicans four qualified candidates for the Aug. 15 primary.

Portigliatti, of Orlando, is chief executive officer of Excellence Senior Living, a developer of luxury assisted living facilities for seniors, and executive vice president of Florida Christian University, a global online university. He also helps manage real estate enterprises for his family’s Portigliatti Group LLC.

He joins Kissimmee chamber of commerce chief John Newstreet, former Winter Garden Commissioner Bobby Olszewski, and emergency and urgent care physician Dr. Usha Jain as having qualified for the Republican primary ballot. The other three qualified by petition earlier this month.

Qualification closes at noon Tuesday for the special election, set to replace former state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, who resigned to take a judicial appointment.

Two Democrats have filed to run, but through the end of business Monday, neither had been listed as qualified for the ballot yet by Florida Division of Elections. They are Paul Chandler, a Lake Buena Vista businessman; and Nuren Durre Haider, vice chair of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee.

And neither party’s primary race may be closed yet; rumors of additional interested potential candidates have leaders in both parties watching and holding their breaths.

The general election will be Oct. 10. The winner gets to serve one year, and would run again in 2018 if wishing to remain in office.

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Conservative Bruno Portigliatti Will Run for Eric Eisnaugle’s Vacated House Seat

Sunshine State News
May 22, 2017
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Republican Bruno Portigliatti has announced his candidacy as a Republican for state representative, District 44, following Rep. Eric Eisnaugle’s May 8 appointment to the 5th District Court of Appeals.

“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to represent our community in Tallahassee,” said Portigliatti. “As an entrepreneur and CEO of a small business, I know what it’s like to face tough decisions and make payroll. … I will be a strong voice for the people of House District 44 and will never stop fighting for bold, conservative ideas that protect our individual freedoms and create jobs for our families.”
Portigliatti was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and moved to Central Florida with his family in 1999, where they became U.S. Citizens. Since then, he has lived in Orlando, particularly in the Dr. Phillips community and surrounding areas. He attended Southwest Middle School and Dr. Phillips High School, attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he received his B.A. in political science and Spanish. He went on to law school at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, where he graduated with Pro Bono Honors, then completed his M.B.A. at Florida Christian University in Orlando.

Portigliatti currently is the executive vice president of 32-year-old Florida Christian University, a global-reach institution; chief executive officer of Excellence Senior Living, dedicated to providing luxury assisted living facilities to seniors in various communities throughout Central Florida; and president of New Beginnings Global Outreach, a non-for-profit charitable organization. He also manages several of his family’s real estate properties and developments.

Portigliatti is a board member of the Dr. Phillips YMCA, chairman of the City of Orlando Minority & Women Business Enterprise Certification Board, and a member of the Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips.

He and his wife Stephanie are active members of the First Baptist Church of Orlando.

In addition, Republican John Newstreet, president and CEO of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce, has also announced he will seek the seat. Republicans Republican Usha Jain of Orlando and former Winter Garden Commissioner Bobby Olszewski have also opened campaign accounts to run in the district — as has Orlando Democrat Paul Chandler.

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